Bill Neill did an amazing job throughout the trip interpreting the geological sites we were seeing. This included providing handouts and presenting lecture materials as well as providing a running narrative on the CB. Everyone on this trip learned so much from Bill who earned the nickname “Professor.”
Our first stop was at Blue Cut in Cajon Pass where Bill presented a very informative map of the geological structure of the fault. We then continued up the old alignment of U.S. 66 and made a turn, as does the fault, on dirt Swarthout Canyon Road. We then stopped at Lost Lake which was the first of many sag ponds. (We learned that sag ponds along the fault are essentially standing water in a pull-apart basin.)
After Lost Lake we headed on up beautiful Lone Pine Canyon to the town of Wrightwood which, of course, sits right on the fault. Everyone was amazed at how extensive Wrightwood is when you leave the main highway and visit the residential areas. We were all also surprised to learn that the swimming hole for the Wrightwood Country Club is a modified sag pond!
After a break at the Big Pines Ranger station we followed a number of rural paved roads to Devil’s Punchbowl County Park which proved to be an outstanding lunch area. We then traversed a variety of roads, paved and dirt, to an overlook for the famous Palmdale Road Cut. This road cut on Highway 14 reveals an incredible geological story in a most spectacular fashion. The view consists of twisted strata and really illustrates the power of faulting.
It was already late in the afternoon as we then proceeded west through the Elizabeth Lake and Leona Valley areas on beautiful rural paved roads. On this route not only was the scenery beautiful, but the Professor pointed out a number of sag ponds on the way along the fault.
Eventually we reached Frazier Park on I-5 which served as our overnight area. Some folks camped, but many stayed at the Motel 6. Everyone enjoyed a very excellent Mexican dinner at the Los Pinos Mexican Restaurant. We had a private room and a good time was had by all including Larry Boerio and friend Chris Parker who were joining us for the Sunday trip. We were also joined Sunday morning by Bob Thille.
On Sunday morning we got an early start and followed the fault west up the valley to the beautiful Lake of the Woods area. We then followed Cerro Noroeste Road as it descended the remarkably beautiful No Name Canyon. Many of the group had never been in this area before and found this drive to be absolutely amazing. Many pictures were shot at the overlooks.
Now it was time for the real dirt road action to start as we entered the Carrizo Plain area on Soda Lake Road. The starkness and beauty of the Carrizo Plain was at times breathtaking as we crossed the boundary into the National Monument. We made a few turns on some moderate dirt roads and followed the fault into an arroyo. For those who like traveling up washes, not to mention side washes, this was your thing. It provided a bit of a four wheel drive challenge for everyone as we had to pull ourselves out of these moderately rugged arroyos again and again. When everyone made it up to the Elkhorn Plain we finally located a lunch spot that was suitable.
About 2:00 p.m. on Sunday we reached pavement at California Highway 58 and everyone said their goodbyes and headed back to civilization. These two days proved to be very informative and a lot of fun. Could there be a San Andreas III? We are looking at that right now and, yes, it could happen.
check out the photo gallery - all photos provided by Mal Roode